‘Nigeria Needs Nuclear Energy to Boost Economy’


Emma Okonji

The President, Council for Renewable Energy of Nigeria (CREN), Anita Okuribido has stressed the need for Nigeria and other African countries to consider substantial investment in nuclear and renewable energy, in order to boost economic development.

Speaking at a recent event on renewable energy, Okuribido said: “We need all hands on deck to deploy huge scales of renewable energy. We need to spread this, and ensure that the almost 190 million Nigerians have up to 5000MW per person per year. We have to empower our populace and our youth, so that we can give our youth a better living experience. This is necessary for the rural people as well, not just urban; we need to engender progress and equality for as many as possible.”

According to her, nuclear power not only ensures the availability of environmentally friendly, reliable and affordable base load power, it also allows African countries to unlock their considerable potential for economic growth.

The World Bank’s evaluation revealed that power outages have reduced the GDP of sub-Saharan countries by 2.1 per cent per year. Lack of electric power has an impact on the economy. On average, power supply to African industrial enterprises is disrupted 56 days a year, which causes the loss of about 6 per cent of the profit. Besides, over 600 million people have limited access to electricity, she said.
The world’s leading experts have estimated that nuclear power is becoming the main area of global economic development. It is expected that in 20 years’ time about 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in countries where nuclear power is well-developed, and the amount of electricity generated worldwide will increase from 400 GW to 700 GW.

A well-developed power generation system is capable of promoting as much as 30 per cent economic growth in sub-Saharan countries by 2040 with a subsequent increase in national income, Okuribido said.

“By 2030, every individual should have access to a minimum of 500MW, while aiming to increase the infrastructural capacity for generation and effective distribution of electricity to 65,000MW,” Okuribido further stated.

She said having a robust energy mix, which could include nuclear, would enable Nigeria to get the energy she needed to drive development.

She advised government to consider three important factors when designing the optimum energy mix, which include economics, security of supply and environmental impact.

According to her, coal for instance is economically viable and offers stable power but brings devastating effects for the environment. Renewables such as wind and solar are great for the environment but are intermittent by nature.

In order to combat the current energy challenges faced by African countries, including Nigeria, there is need for guaranteed access to affordable and clean baseload power, she added.